Prior to the May 14 election, the Advance asked Nelson-Creston candidates, How will you support seniors and youth advocacy?
Sjeng Derkx (Green Party): The growing number of seniors is as varied as any other group in our society. To speak of them as a homogenous unit is to do them a disservice. They are a largely untapped source of experience and knowledge who want and need more opportunities to contribute, but they also are a growing group who often need help to access social and health care services. Home care for ailing seniors needs to be expanded and improved to ensure they can lead lives with dignity in their own homes for as long as possible. Greens want to expand the role of the provincial seniors advocate to ensure provincial legislation considers their interests and to ensure seniors have a direct line to government.
We need improved early education programs and affordable daycare for working parents. Local youth need to have confidence that the education they pursue will lead to local employment opportunities. Families should not have to be split because mom or dad has to go to the tarsands to make ends meet. As your MLA, I will put my heart and soul to bring local jobs, local business opportunities and local prosperity back to Nelson-Creston.
Greg Garbula (Liberal Party): The most common issue between seniors and youth in our region is affordable housing. We must work towards solutions for seniors to be able to access a variety of levels of age-related assisted living communities so that there is an opportunity for the variety of needs to be accommodated. Similarly, youth are in a situation that unless we can provide high-paying jobs for our young people and young families, we will not be able to retain them from other regions that have heated labor markets. So we must provide for a combination of more employment and affordable, sustainable living spaces, of which I plan on making both a priority as your representative. Without a vibrant young demographic component to a community, the support for our social systems becomes unsupported and communities regress.
Michelle Mungall (New Democratic Party): When putting people first, it is imperative to target specific programs for both seniors and young people. One of the key priorities of an NDP government is to improve care for B.C. seniors, including better health care, better home care and creating an independent seniors advocate.
A major concern facing young people is access to the training and skills they need for today’s jobs. The NDP would establish financial needs-based grants to improve access to post-secondary education and reduce crippling student debt. We have also laid out a plan to address child poverty and a made-in-B.C. approach to protecting our environment so that young people have a positive future.